The letters “VFL” above the entrances to the Virginia Institute of Marine Science’s original building, Maury Hall, may puzzle campus visitors, but they are no mystery to the faculty, staff, and students of the Department of Fisheries Science. The abbreviations herald the Virginia Fisheries Laboratory and were imprinted in those archways when the research facility moved to Gloucester Point in 1957. Although our institute’s name has changed, the investigation of living marine resources, especially finfish and shellfish, has been our dominating focus for more than 60 years. Today, the Department of Fisheries Science at VIMS continues to provide critical scientific information and objective technical advice on resource management to the Commonwealth of Virginia, the nation, and the international community.
Our faculty and technical staff possess diverse experience in the biology and status of fishes, molluscs, crustaceans, and sea turtles, applying both classical skills and novel approaches to enhance our understanding of these animals in their estuarine and marine environments. Although our center of attention is the Chesapeake Bay and its adjacent coastal seas, department scientists investigate living resources throughout the world’s estuaries and oceans. Areas of study include fisheries population dynamics, habitat requirements, evolution and systematics, food-web dynamics, molecular biology, physiology, deep-sea ecology and more.
Advisory Service & Education
Our research informs society and is often the technical basis for resource policy. This combination of research and advice provides a rich environment for graduate education. Our students integrate into department research, actively participating in our advisory function. The program attracts students with diverse backgrounds and research interests. Graduates find employment as teachers, researchers, and resource managers at universities, in local, state, national and international agencies, and in private corporations.
As we move into a new and uncertain environmental future, the department will accept the challenge to provide vital scientific information to sustain our living marine resources. We are committed to upholding the standard of excellence that characterizes the work of VIMS.